Saturday, 3 December 2011

Dublin is for Dreamers

This is a post about music, but it's related to books - have no fear. 

Tonight, I had the most amazing opportunity to see Glen Hansard, singer, songwriter, Oscar winner, poet, and all around genius perform live in Dublin. It was an intimate concert held at a small theater in the heart of Temple Bar with only 60 people in attendance. The concert was only supposed to last 45minutes, but Glen sang his heart out for two hours. It was honestly one of the best experiences I've had in Dublin so far.


For those who don't recognize the name, Glen Hansard was the visionary behind the 2006 film, Once, he played a Grafton Street performer in Dublin who meets a woman, also a singer who comes into his life unexpectedly, to question him about his music and push him to greater depths. Both Hansard and Marketa Irglova who play the main guy and girl characters are musicians in real life and Hansard is a very popular folk singer in Dublin who since the movie has gained more and more notoriety. He and Irglova formed a band after the movie - The Swell Season and Glen is now the lead singer of the band The Frames. The song Falling Slowly from the film Once was the 2006 Oscar winner for Best Original Song. 

In all honestly, his songs are like beautiful, haunting poems, listen to any one of them and you'll see what I mean. Hansard sings from the heart, his husky voice hitting the high screaming notes one of the greatest things about his music. 

During the concert this evening he played a variation of songs, some covers he's performed before from R.E.M to Van Morrison, but the best songs were those he is currently working on, raw and in constant transition that he was gracious enough to play for this audience. One song in particular brought chills and tears. No exaggeration. Glen Hansard's music is the kind that makes you believe in music.

Now, I promised all this would come back to books so here it is. One of the songs Glen performed was a track he was asked to write for a soon to be released film. He started to talk about it and mentioned that it was based off a book. The book was The Hunger Games.
He described the story for those who hadn't read it and then described the scene the song would be used for. The song will play during a pivotal scene in the arena, where a dominant character - my guess is Katniss - is faced with the horror of being lifted into a game that pits her against 25 other children knowing that only one of them will survive. He described the circumstances, the kids having to race to the water, struggling to gain supplies and survive the horror they are facing. It was wonderful to hear the scene described in Glen's own words, but even more so to hear the beauty of the song itself.
Played on a fiddle, the song is slow and melodic and truly hauntingly beautiful. 
Having read the book, I know the scene he was referencing and having scene the movie trailer I know a bit about the style of the film. All I can say is that when the audience sees the moment Glen described played out of screen, the film will be fly. The song fits the scene to perfection and only raised my confidence that The Hunger Games will be brilliant.

Never thought that a night like this one would happen so spontaneously as it did, but seeing Glen Hansard, a native of Dublin and fantastic musician play live in the city I live in was more than I could have ever expected or hoped for of my experience here. Dublin has such an amazing and underground art scene and it was amazing to be a part of it for one night. A city for dreamers!

Here's a taste of Glen - one of my favourite songs Fitzcaraldo

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